With the shows I’ve been following coming to an end, a quick review is in order. Maybe it’ll remind me that there’s more to life than the girls onboard Arctus Prima.
Simoun vs. Ouran High Host Club
It’s not that I am not afraid of comparing apples with oranges, but it struck me that what is missing in Ouran Host Club is exactly what makes Simoun so good.
I like to criticize Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu on the basis that Kyoani, outside of maybe Air, has generally gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to adding that “feel” to a show. I have a hard time putting it to words, but it can be said that the same effect can be replicated when you cook chicken breasts the wrong way, that they come out tasting like soft chalk. Granted, the effect is nowhere nearly as bad. FMP: TSR was as bad as it gets, and it isn’t that bad at all. Maybe it’s the consistency? Does it lack “soul”?
But I feel that is exactly what makes Ouran Host Club remind me of Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu. Ouran, as visually impressive as it is, fails to reach that visceral-ness Suzumiya Haruhi did. But like Suzumiya Haruhi, Ouran is a very cerebral experience, it is very smart. The characters are both flat and round in order for the gags, both visual and mental, to work, and I think the show did a decent job of that. That’s not to mention my favorite part of the show–the direction. It’s sharp and clever. Even in its weaker moments it doesn’t fail to impress. In some ways it surpasses most anime that I can remember on the technicals, even if it couldn’t hit those “we pour love and money into this episode!” peaks that shorter, TV anime this past year did.
I can foresee that in the near future I’ll come around to enjoy Haruhi again. But for now, this show is the diametric opposite to Simoun: it’s clean, it doesn’t leave you attached, it impresses visually and mentally, but leaving you a little longing inside.
Tsuyokiss vs. Simoun
In some ways Tsuyokiss only reached the first step of what Simoun did, but since it gambled all 13 episodes on that one thing, it came out pretty well when we look at Tsuyokiss on that one thing, and only that one thing. That one thing, well, it is probably best described as a dialogue the anime production people have with the audience. It tries to tease you, it tries to please you. It knows what it has to work with is crap and it doesn’t care even if it is the worse case of original-adaptation-cide ever. It is unapologetic about it, but in a way it expects you to know that much. In the end it delivers on a platter of something that is like a B- high school group project, but since you were a part of the group, you get sentimental over it.
Simoun, on the other hand, has gotten that bit over with when Mamiina broke out with fists and claws. Since it is twice longer than 13 episodes, it can’t afford to do the same either. Their first tour with Wauf was all about it.
Simoun vs. Blood+
Blood+ is a very clean show. The production value shines through. It is intelligent yet it has the pacing of a typical 90s anime that aims to dramatize. The story, in retrospect, is a powerful one. However, most of the power was robbed by its mechanical, one-fight-per-episode formula that is as mediocre as it gets. There is some sense of overall planning and vision, but on the ground it doesn’t please or tease or amuse anyone. It tries too hard being cool the whole way, when it could have gotten a lot farther by shedding the drama and just get things done, and offer up some twists.
On the other hand you can look at it as a sign of respect. Blood+ knows we know what it has up its sleeves, and it’s just a matter of waiting it out. However it feels like all this formalistic pretense just gets in the way of me trying to enjoy Saya’s plea.
Simoun vs. Honey & Clover 2
I hope Mamiina didn’t mistake rats with hamsters.
The concluding 12 episodes of Honey & Clover was rather good, I thought. But the break between episodes 26 and the recapping episode 27 really spoiled things. As here we were, all ready to accept things as it was with how the first 26 episodes ended (and it was a decent way to end something that “doesn’t end” I thought). Yet now there’s real closure.
Of course, by episode 26 you get a good idea how Takemoto is going to take things, and what happens between Rika, Mayama; Yamada, Nomiya; and obviously Hagu… Can’t say I am NOT surprised but somehow how it ended felt right; things ended as it should (save for the little oddness with Hanamoto-sensei that will boggle and mislead a bunch of fools).
But was it all just ending for having an ending’s sake? Is it really just a long-ass ending thing? It would certainly make Honey & Clover one hella unique anime. Not only as a romantic comedy it was rather unconventional, it has the longest ending sequence ever.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni vs. Simoun
Satoshi visits the Spring, only to realize boycotts and local conspiracies murdered Onashia and her relatives over dam construction at the ruins. Add drugs, dogfighting, gruesome torture, and identity crisis. Tempus Spatium makes a guest appearance in the form of Mion’s tatoo.
Higurashi was great up to episode 5. From then on it tries to explain and continue to add more to the wholesome mix of loli horror, but it never quite reaches the same peak. A mostly linear downhill ride, I’d say. Admittedly this genre is fairly NOT my bag of tea but I enjoyed what little there was to enjoy about this show. The OP itself was awesome for setting the mood and all.
Bokura ga Ita vs. Simoun
One makes me feel gay, the other doesn’t? And while I think I would be pretty comfortable watching Bokura ga Ita with other, non-anime people, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with myself watching Bokura ga Ita even if I was by myself. Those times I wish I was watching Ouran High instead. Less yucky, more pretty.
But nonetheless it’s a nice, alternative take to the same genre. I’m just not sure if I can take it…period. It drives me insane.
And let’s not forget. I’d rather have other people walk in on me watching Neviril kissing some other equally “moe-looking” chick than stick-figure Yano and Bokura ga Ita’s simple visuals. It’s that bad. Or it’s that good? I suppose that’s shoujo anime in its bare form.
Simoun vs. Coyote Ragtime Show
I’d be pretty happy if Angelica hooks up with Amuria or Onashia or something. She is a pretty, enlightened, old fashion gal and I think without her the Coyote Ragtime show would be only a shadow of its current self. I enjoyed the show, that said, because it has this die hard feel to it. Too bad objectively the show kind of tanked in some major aspects. I blame it squarely on Katana, Bishop, and Mister themselves. Being such important aspects to the show they are really pretty … lame. Swamp, being the token black guy, at least did his job well enough. Considering we have three (to 4 to 5 if the Coyotes break up) narrative perspectives, at least 2 out of 3 involves something less lame, like the 12 Sisters or Chelsea and Angelica, the show wasn’t too terrible to watch. But as a proof of concept I think it fails terribly. Maybe it would have been better if Bishop and Katana had more going on rather than being sidekicks.
Simoun vs. Aria the Natural
An episode of Aria is like an episode of Simoun once you remove any trace of conflict. The girls do not kiss each other, but they might as well. I think what really makes Aria works is the SD. I hated Aria-prez when Aria first got animated a while back, and now that’s all but a remote memory–it shows just how powerful your brain is in ignoring or filtering out stuff that it really doesn’t like. And that can include those girl-on-girl kisses. It would be just as an irritant as Aria-prez’s incessant whining.
And some might even like that!